Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 31, 2020 04:44AM

kBOY wrote:
Grouchy old men need not apply.


Excerpt from a post by reveal from August 2018:

Posted by: reveal
Date: August 18, 2018 05:37AM

I was born and raised in the fellowship (an OG YASPer, too), and for a long time I never really considered how toxic it was because it was all I ever knew, but several years ago I started to wake up and I began to see things for what they were. I’ve lived in about five different TLWF locations, and with each new location a new set of shepherds, almost all of which were emotionally and spiritually abusive and extremely controlling. From the time I was a young child I experienced emotional abuse by the church. When I was just six or seven years old and attending the “Kingdom” school, the leaders of the school had decided that I was too bonded to my mother and forced me to stay several nights at the principal’s home as a way to get me disconnected from my mom. I was so confused why the school bus was passing my house and terrified that I was not being allowed to go home. This is one of MANY such odd church-related occurrences in my childhood.

In my twenties I was dating a man in the church, who unbeknownst to me had submitted our relationship to the shepherds. I wasn’t connecting with anyone at the time in a shepherding relationship and it was during the time that the words on having an Elijah/Elisha relationship were coming out. I had asked a particular shepherd to be that relationship to me and she said I could only have a relationship with her if I broke up with him. Weird, but also not uncommon…the shepherds have always interfered heavily with relationships, often splitting couples up or telling them they were not allowed to date someone in the first place because they didn’t “have a witness on it”. If you disobeyed them, you were usually ostracized and criticized. We were also so brainwashed with the belief system that if we did something without the blessing of the shepherds, we would be totally out of the will of God and therefore…fucked. In a word.

After I entered into this “Elijah/Elisha” relationship with this pastor, things got very bad for me. I was constantly being criticized for EVERYTHING by her, for the way I talked, how I dressed, how I behaved, every little fucking detail of my life and personality was scrutinized. She said very cruel things to me about my character, even though she had never taken the time to get to know me at all. And speaking of “Girls Turn it Off” I was even told by her that the only reason that guy I was dating ever wanted to date me in the first place was because I “beamed it at him” to like me. I was also berated for dressing “provocatively” at a social function because I was “clearly trying to get his attention”. I was wearing jeans and a modest blouse, by the way. I started wearing dumpy sweatshirts after that. Men were never held responsible for their part, women were basically just slut shamed unjustifiably.

I became very isolated and depressed during this time. I was purposely excluded from many functions and constantly getting in trouble for every little thing. I had massive anxiety because I was paranoid about getting another “talking to”, as it happened so often. I felt I had to walk on eggshells at all times. It left me feeling so horribly about myself that I had almost zero self-esteem. It was a very lonely time.

The abuse continued with nearly every other shepherd I had subsequent to her. It was either highly personal attacks or it was having my life so controlled I could hardly stand it. At one point it became intolerable, as a lifetime of being abused in this way became too much to handle. I became so depressed and self-loathing that I began hurting myself. The constant criticism, the pressure to perform according to shepherds’ expectations, being ostracized when I did not live up to their expectations, struggling to earn their love and acceptance, the never-ending scrutiny and so-called discipline piled up until I felt I was a worthless, unlovable piece of shit. I tried going to therapy but it was hard to get anywhere when I knew if I told the truth about my situation IT WOULD SOUND LIKE I WAS IN A CULT. I literally remember thinking that.

It was only after I spent some time away from a local church for the first time in my life and began to slowly feel better that I realized perhaps it was the church itself that was making me so depressed. But I kept hoping things would change in the church, and because of a lifetime of being conditioned to think that any doubts I had about it were satanic deception or something, I stuck around for several years even after I began having major doubts. I kept hoping that things would get better, but nothing ever changed, in fact the Living Word culture only became more oppressive and fanatical.

Everything is very manipulative in the Fellowship. They play this messed up game of giving and then withdrawing affection, demanding total participation, and making you fearful of being rejected by the group. They play on people’s longing to belong. They tell you that submission is not absolutely required, but you better believe that there will be consequences if you don’t submit to them. You will be punished by being excluded, gossiped about, removed from teams, positions (even paid jobs), relationships, and will be generally coldshouldered. I’ve heard shepherds make fun of people for “subnouncing” things, as in announcing what they were going to do rather than submitting it. So many of us abided by shepherding directives that felt totally wrong because we knew if we didn’t we would be ostracized. They also convinced us that “even if the shepherds are wrong, God will honor your submission and make it right.” How many of you have been fed that line before?

The prevailing culture of the group is so deeply entrenched in these negative ways of treating the sheep and its disturbing hierarchical structure promotes exclusivity, elitism and man-worship. The leadership is very toxic, abusive, and self-serving.

After I finally decided to split with the church a couple of years ago, I began to feel more happy and free than I had ever felt in my entire life. I also felt that the things that had troubled me internally for so long were starting to get better. I actually started to grow spiritually, something I did not feel happened for me in the church. I felt like we were always going around the same mountain over and over again. I realized that I rarely saw much change or growth in people at all, in the Fellowship.

It makes me incredibly angry that we were all so abused when all we were trying to do was walk with God. It makes me angry that I waited so long to leave, believing that it would change and get better, all the while enduring more and more psychological crap that I have to now get over. I’m working really hard to forgive everyone that is responsible for the hurt and abuse, but it is not easy. Oddly, it is especially difficult to reconcile my anger with the love I have for even the ones that were so awful to me. It was my love for those people that kept me believing they could change. But I could no longer continue to be a part of an organization that is so cold-hearted, hypocritical and judgmental. They say TLWF is a family. It is not. It is a business.

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 31, 2020 05:49AM

Yes, our family enjoyed reading Chronicles of Narnia as well, Typer. Glad you and your wife decided to read it, defying explicit instructions from the 'Apostle to the Kingdom' not to do so. :)

Date: November 05, 2019 10:16AM

Does anyone else remember in the early 1970's when the school of prophets manuals were being printed and people were selected to be able to participate in reading them under the supervision of your head pastor? When a new one would come out, I think we had to sign for it, make sure we came to class so we stayed in good standing, and not share the book with people not enrolled in class. Anyway, if I remember right, we were given instructions by JRS of a lot of books NOT to read because they were full of "deception". Does anyone else remember him saying not to read the "Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis? Anyway, my wife and I just dusted them off and are enjoying them very much this week.

We took all our "living word" literature and tapes to the dumpster about November 2018 after the shit hit the fan in Palmer Lake because we didn't want anyone at "Goodwill" to receive the toxicity of that deception. Anyway, a few other "Christian" authors on our shelf have been removed because we are seeing their huge accumulations of wealth from their publications, and are seeing some holes in what they are preaching. But JRS and G&M fleeced us far worse because of the hypocrisy they walked in while we were catching chickens in Iowa, building pallets at the sawmill, or working 60-70 hours a week in some "kingdom" business or having to use a "port-a-potties" on our break from cleaning their backroom. Did Gary every go chicken catching? He missed so much fun. Every once in a while I reached my hand in the cage to get one for the truck to ship them off for TV dinners (16 chickens per cage) and it would be dead. That always made me shudder, their poor cancerous body being cold and limp. I'm sure Gary knows what I'm talking about (Ha, Ha).

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 01, 2020 02:35AM

A life-time of exposure to extremely toxic 'ministries.' Hope you're doing O.K.,'s been a while since we last heard from you. Thank you for sharing your stories in this forum, which I'm sure has helped many with similar struggles as you have had.

Posted by: Imapurple
Date: February 01, 2020 09:04PM

The ongoing hindsight in all of this is so eye opening and painful in so many ways. It brings so many different emotions, some satisfying in seeing things come to an end and some sad over the pain of it all. I was close to so much of it as so many people have been. Being a kid growing up with John and with him when he died and everything that followed that to all that is happening now is an overwhelming amount of crazy thoughts and feelings. I like to think I’m free from it all but I realize I’m not. All of my friends and just about everyone in my life were or still are part of this. I say this because my heart goes out to those feeling the same. I’m working away at it. When you’re part of something so huge from such a young age and with it mixed with a great deal of good and bad it’s extremely difficult to sort it out. The evil I’ve seen with Rick, his mother and Gary goes without saying. Not to mention others like Scott, Steve and others. I just hope I can get past the hurt and pray others will be able to do the same.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2020 02:37AM by changedagain.

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 01, 2020 04:27AM

He knew...

Posted by: Imapurple
Date: November 26, 2019 07:23PM

I truly believe that he was regretful of his openness to Marilyn and all the craziness that followed. I believe he knew it was wrong and knew God was never in all that. I’m not making excuses for him. I just think he knew he had been buying into his own BS and the BS that was always around him. On his bed as he was sick and dying he cried out asking Martha for forgiveness. He knew...

Posted by: Reepicheep
Date: November 26, 2019 10:36PM

Thanks for that info, Imapurple. I probably never knew JRS when he was not somehow involved with Marilyn...years before his divorce from Martha. I'm glad that he finally realized (on some level) that he was wrong for that. It doesn't take away the pain of all the wrong and hurt that he caused so many people. It does make him seem a bit more human.

Posted by: puddington
Date: November 27, 2019 08:25AM

Reep, I’m thinking about John on his deathbed. I imagine, in a moment of clarity, he looked around the room and saw only his groupies. People he had created by feeding them fairy tales. And other people that wanted his power. It must have dawned on him that these people didn’t REALLY love him. They just wanted something from him. Or they were there as bondservants to The Apostle. And then he remembered Martha. The one who loved John the man. Just the man, not the apostle.

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: puddington ()
Date: August 02, 2020 12:58AM

I remember a message from G&M where they talked about the one big mistake JRS made. They said his big error was that he “didn’t fully open up to Marilyn”. Looking back now, I think he had to wall her off since as his wife, she became a raging manipulative bitch. But he realized this too late, IMO.

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 02, 2020 02:56AM

I remember a message from G&M where they talked about the one big mistake JRS made. They said his big error was that he “didn’t fully open up to Marilyn”.

I think that was in reaction to them finding out that John was with another woman (besides Marilyn, or his wife Martha) on the day he was allegedly transported seven years into the future to witness the Kingdom. Seriously.

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Reepicheep ()
Date: August 02, 2020 03:57AM

Someone once told me that JRS realized that Marilyn was "worse than Martha" even before he became ill. It seems that on his deathbed he may have wished himself back to a time before he had created a life "full of vain striving and defeated ambition".

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: August 02, 2020 04:17AM


All of these revelations certainly confirm how far off course JRS had veered from TO BE A CHRISTIAN, epitomizing a life "full of vain striving and defeated ambition".

Operating with that paradigm, and as the figurehead of a large RELIGIOUS organization, what could go wrong . . . ?

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 02, 2020 08:39AM

'Sit Down, Shut Up and Listen'
(the opening line of the Sermon of the Mount, if delivered by Marilyn)

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 02, 2020 08:54AM

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Hope everyone is staying safe and has a pleasant Sunday. Thank you for contributing to the discussion these many years. And thank you to Rick Ross for providing and maintaining this site.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2020 08:57AM by changedagain.

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